Parrott continues to roll in volleyball
Arendell Parrott Academy coach David Barnes talks to his team after the Patriots' 35th straight regular-season victory Wednesday. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News.
The wins keep coming in for the Arendell Parrott Academy volleyball team.
With a 25-8, 25-12, 25-14 victory over Greenville John Paul II Wednesday, the Patriots have won their 35th consecutive regular-season game. APA (4-0) hasn’t lost a match before the postseason since a Sept. 13, 2016 game against Freedom Christian and -- counting Coastal Rivers Conference tournament play -- the streak is now at 37.
“We practice hard (on off days) and we don’t settle against any team,” Mackenzie Pope said. “We want to keep the high level we set for ourselves and always try to play our best.”
The Patriots took a 3-0 lead to start the game, but the Saints (0-1) scored the next three, punctuated by an Anna McMillan service ace. The teams traded points before Alli Grant Avery’s kill set up a 7-1 run to go up 11-5, with Avery adding three more spikes. The Patriots didn't allow the Saints to get within five from there, closing with 14 of the next 17 points.
“We have a fun, close-knit team, which helps us mentally prepare and stay in check,” Avery said. “We’ve got a goal to play well every game and let it play on the court.”
Parrott never trailed in the match and went up 5-1 in the second set after an Avery block. Mary Grace Flowers’ kill ended a 3-0 run for John Paul II, but the Patriots’ subsequent spree put the team ahead 18-7. The Saints got within 4-3 in the third set, but the Patriots scored the next nine, led by Jorja Tuten — who had four service aces in the run and eight overall — to essentially end the game.
“I was looking where the players were and trying to find the holes,” Tuten said. “I love to serve short and I think I’m really good at it.”
Overall, Parrott coach David Barnes said he was pretty happy with the team’s play.
“What we’re trying to do is get better every day in practice and when we step out (for games),” Barnes said. “We started off a little slow in Set 1, but we took off like a rocket soon after. We have to control what we can on our side, and I thought the first unit did that pretty well. We were able to play everyone and see what Virginia Edmondson was able to do as a middle hitter, which will help us down the road.”
Avery had 13 kills, Pope added eight and Edmondson contributed six for the Patriots.